Hadlow College Holds Its Third Successful Training and Pruning Event at Its Huxley/BIFGA Orchard
We held our 3rd annual training and pruning event on Friday 5th February, with an impressive turnout of Landscape, Horticulture and Design students gathering at the Huxley/BIFGA orchard to learn techniques from a veritable who’s-who of fruit-growing luminaries.
Stefan Jordan, Lecturer in Forestry and Arboriculture, delivered the welcome speech, dedicating the event to the memory of the late Sue Daly, a much-loved former Hadlow colleague who sadly passed away in 2012. He said: “Without Sue’s passion for the college and the fruit sector, this event wouldn’t have happened. Today is about you, the students, and promoting the industry at large to the next generation of practitioners. The fruit industry is, I hope you understand, necessary in this country, it offers a rewarding career and we need the skills base to maintain it.”
Presentations then followed from John Guest, 'The English Apple Man', who spoke about the origins of the Huxley orchard, and Nigel Stewart, Technical Director at A.C.Goatham and Son, who gave a highly informative talk covering fruiting habits, V-frame growing and mechanical versus hand-pruning methods, amongst other topics. Roger Worraker, co-author of the book ‘The Apple Pruning Manual’, then discussed the growing patterns of different varieties, recognising different lateral branches and the complexities of maintaining a productive branch system.After a quick briefing from technical facilitator Malcolm Withnall, the students filed out into the Huxley orchard with saws and secateurs to begin pruning, overseen by the expert eye of Brian Tompsett, Consultant at Apple Growing Solutions and Jim Harlow, a local grower from Flightshott Farm, who brought a lively approach to the tutorials.
The event was a fantastic showcase for Hadlow as the training ground for UK fruit growers, as all of the participating technical advisors were either ex-Hadlow students or lecturers.
Stefan Jordan commented, “This has been a fantastic day and an invaluable opportunity for students to pick up knowledge, experiences and even just great anecdotes about the industry.”
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